They are a long-standing tribe akin to Estonians and Finns that once stretched from the borders of southern Finland to the eastern borders of Estonia, Moscow, Ingria and out towards the Samoydic Permyaks in the Ural mountains. They now only have a few enclaves of them left in Ingia, Estonia a western Russia.
From archaeological studies and the trading of old place names that they problem lived at least in the valleys of the rivers Sheksna, Suda, Syas, Olonets Karelia, Ingria and Lake Onega. Variouse tomb findings prove that they had contact with Staraya Ladoga, western Finland area and Meryans and am on other Volga Finnic tribes and after the 12th century their history is connected with the Novgorod Republic and under other Russian principalities. Later on the Vepsians inhabited also Western and Eastern shores of Onega.
Acording to early Russian chronicles, they are called "Весь" ('Ves’') and in some Arabic sources they are called 'Wisu'. It is assumed that the Bjarmians were also at least partly Vepsians. From the onwards contact was being made with the Russian tribes.
Russian settlement reached the Äänis-Veps in either the 14th or 15th century. Eastern Vepsians in Kargopol area had merged linguistically with Russians just before the 20th century. The Western Vepsians have still kept
their language and culture.
They are dispersed and assimilated over the years and did not form a Karelian or Baltic state beyond the Veps National Volost.
The Veps National Volost (Russian: Ве́псская национа́льная во́лость, Vepsskaya natsionalnaya volost; Veps: Vepsän rahvahaline volost’) was a municipal autonomy (a volost) of North Vepses in Prionezhsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia.
The autonomous region was established on January 20, 1994, bu was disbanded in 2004. Its territorial centre was the village (selo) of Shyoltozero. Volost's population was 3,166 in (2002 Census), with the Veps population of 1,202. The second volost extended over the same territory as the former Shyoltozero District from the 1930s to the 1950s. The volost was municipally divided into three rural settlements (Shyoltozero, Shoksha, and Rybreka) comprising thirteen villages.
Major communitis are in the Republic of Karelia and in Vologda Oblast. There are also some small enclaves in Ingria and on the Russian-Estonian border.
The Veps or Vepsians are a Finnic people (that is akin to Estonians, Karelians and Finns) and some speak the Uralic Veps language. According to the 2002 census, there were 8,240 Veps in Russia, who were mostly bilingual in fluent Russian and fluent or limited Vepsian.
According to the 2001 census, 11 of 281 Veps in Ukraine speak Vepsian. The most prominent speaker and researcher in Vepsian is Finland's Eugene Holman of the University of Helsinki.